Is it time for a Policy and Paperwork Audit?

Get your HR ducks in a row this New Year

Employment agreements, job descriptions, expense policies – all this paperwork ensures your people know what’s expected of them so they can do the best job possible. It also helps when managing serious workplace issues like bullying, harassment and health and safety, while ensuring consistency and contentment in the workplace.

It’s important to review and update employment documentation regularly, to keep your business and your people on the same page and reflect any workplace or employment law changes. The new year is a great time to do this.

Three common policy mistakes

When you’re juggling multiple hats as a business owner or manager, it’s easy to sweep policies and procedures under the rug.

Here are some of the most common mistakes we see:

1. Not implemented

All too often, policies get pushed to the depths of a desk or online filing system, and never again see the light of day. Some employers don’t have any policies whatsoever. When something goes wrong, that’s when things get messy.

2. Lacking detail

Time and time again, we see employment agreements missing vital information, such as termination clauses or end of employment restraints.

3. Outdated or irrelevant information

Things like drug and alcohol policies aren’t in line with the nature of your business, or there are outdated motor vehicle policies, like smoking in vehicles.

Get your paperwork ducks in a row

Whether you regularly fine-tune your policies or haven’t looked at them in five years, we highly recommend scheduling an annual paperwork review at the beginning of each year.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Leave no stone unturned

Employment paperwork includes rules, guidelines, codes of conduct, procedures, employment agreements, job descriptions, handbooks and manuals. That covers a host of information, including health and safety, bullying and harassment, lateness and absence, reviews and performance, and anything relevant to your company. Consider all potential scenarios and ensure you cover them well in your documentation. That way, when even the most challenging situations arise, you and your staff will know what to do.

2. Get agreements on file

Under New Zealand law, every employee must have a signed employment agreement on file. Now is a good time to ensure that’s the case for all your staff, and if something’s missing, get it updated as soon as possible.

3. Update and improve your policies

Some policies are great; others are irrelevant, outdated and vague. Ensure they cover all necessary legal information and tweak areas where information could be more defined. Your policies and procedures should be thorough, relevant, fair and tailored to your business – not a template downloaded from the internet.

4. Get INZ accredited

With an impending recession, talent shortages and The Great Resignation sweeping the country, the last thing you want is to be short-staffed. But, as our borders open to the rest of the world, employing overseas staff is a great option – if you’re INZ accredited. Your suite of documentation needs to meet certain requirements to gain this accreditation.

5. Put a date in the diary

Updating your policies now is great, but this time next year, they’ll probably need refreshing again. Employment law and technology are constantly evolving, which means things change quickly in the workplace too – and outdated policies are a recipe for disaster. Ensure an update is scheduled each year, so your policies stay relevant, up to date, and set up to support you and your staff.

Need help updating your policies?

These five tips will help keep the wheels of your business turning (without employment paperwork tripping you up):

  • Perform an audit to identify any documentation you’re missing.
  • Make sure all staff have access to all policies and procedures – and ensure evidence shows they’ve seen and read the documentation.
  • Ensure employee agreements are updated and signed.
  • Tweak policies and procedures to align with your current way of working.
  • Apply for INZ accreditation.
  • Schedule an annual review.

If you’re unsure where to begin, our employment documentation audit service can help keep your paperwork regularly updated and relevant, fit for purpose, and meeting legal obligations. Contact The HR Department today.